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Aaachoo! Allergies

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Allergies getting you? 2012 has been predicted to be the worst in years for allergy sufferers. Unseasonably high temperatures revved up tree pollen and caused it to release 2 to 3 weeks earlier than normal. This means misery for allergy sufferers, because the grass pollen season overlaps with the tree pollen release, causing hypersensitivity to those with seasonal allergies.

This phenomena is known as 'priming' and if you are experiencing the effects of it, all you want is relief! Know the signs of allergy symptoms, which are very different from a sinus infection.1

Typically, with allergies, your symptoms will leave when you are away from the allergen; cats, tree pollen, dust, etc. Some ways to cope with seasonal allergens like pollen are to wipe off your shoes before you enter your home, wash your hair before bed, clean off your eyeglasses, wash clothing worn outdoors near the source of your allergy.2 Keep on top of it by treating it symptomatically if mild, or obtaining a prescription if the over the counter products you are using just aren't cutting it.

Things to look for with seasonal allergies are:

Sneezing and a stuffy/runny nose
Clear or whitish nasal drainage
A burning sensation in the nose or eyes
Itchy, water eyes

Left untreated, allergies can at times turn into sinusitis, a painful sinus infection. Often those with seasonal allergies are predisposed to infections of the sinus cavity, and up to 39% of sufferers say their infection began as simple allergies.3 Signs of a sinus infection include:

Dental pain
Bad breath
Pain between eyes, forehead, cheeks and nose
Fever
Stuffy nose, yellowish, greenish, or gray nasal mucous
Symptoms lasting more than 7-10 days

Doctors will generally prescribe a combination of medications to combat a sinus infection; an antibiotic,and a steroid to open nasal passages and allow drainage.

Remember, during allergy season, especially when it is like the one we are currently experiencing, to treat your allergies symptomatically, and by prescription if necessary. Get rest, drink extra fluids to keep your mucous membranes moist and to hydrate yourself, and if you experience any of the symptoms of a sinus infection do not allow it to continue more than 7 to 10 days. Left untreated, and in rare cases, it can cause an infection of the bone, meningitis, or a brain abscess4.

Keep on top of your allergy symptoms, and enjoy a safe, healthy summer!

Michele Rossignol lmt/cr June 2012

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